Logo Design Love

on logos and brand identity design

Behind the innocent logo

Launched twelve years ago, innocent sells more than two million pure fruit smoothies each week in 11,000 UK outlets.

Here’s the story behind the “face with the halo” logo quoted from a comment thread on the Fast Tractor innocent blog.

innocent smoothies

The story goes like this — the name ‘innocent’ came from us (actually via Rich (founder) going through the thesauruses in Huddersfield town library). We had a fair few dodgy names before settling on innocent.

The logo was designed by Gravy at Deepend. Gravy doodled on a piece of paper in front of us in response to our brief ‘we just need a face with a halo above it’, and we looked at his first sketches and said ‘that’s it’.

We agreed that Deepend would provide us the first 18 months of design services in return for them getting 2% equity, but Deepend went bust so the equity reverted back to us.

innocent halo

Story from the keyboard of Dan Germain, head of creative at innocent.

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities, second edition

10 appreciated comments

  1. That’s really interesting that Deepend took equity as payment. I’ve often thought of that when working with business startups who don’t have much budget.

    I love the Innocent brand. Their tone of voice is perfect for today’s market.

  2. Leo

    Yeah, this post also made me think twice about accepting a percentage of the profit of the business instead of regular payment. I just recently swopped an iPhone for a CI design job. At the time I didn’t need the cash, and really needed the phone…but it’s quite interesting in terms of recording the transaction for accounting purposes. I haven’t recorded it and have kept it ‘off the books’ to keep my financials as straight forward as possible!

    I’ve always liked the idea of swapping services instead of always billing in cash – the idea of living a self sustained life without the constant dependency on money. But Deepend now makes me hesitant about equity as payment…one has to wonder what effect this arrangement had on their long term survival…or lack thereof.

  3. Swapping services … that would give me problems with the IRS here in Denmark.

  4. Niall

    I wonder how much of the 18 months they worked? If they had clung on they’d have made millions.

  5. DVM

    Not paying your designer because the company went bankrupt: it might be legal but doesn’t sound very ‘innocent’.

  6. Kris Green

    I can’t ever help but to see a piggy snout in that logo.

  7. Jon

    20-odd years in this game has taught me one thing: always take the money – always!

    In my early years I got roped into a number of hare-brained schemes, not one of which worked out.

  8. Damn, from now on I will always see a pig snout. Thanks Kris …

  9. Marc

    Not sure which art-working Marcel de Quervain worked on ‘in-house’ , the examples shown are later designs from the launch work. The only truth is that Deepend created the logo, brand, innocentgym.co.uk website and their initial bottle concepts as well as all the freshtrading branding, stationary etc.. Innocent worked on the words for the label after collectively we worked on the tone of voice.

    Design Week and other publications recognised deepend’s involvement at the time even if Innocent were reluctant to.

    The equity agreed was more like 4% than 2% . The only truth is that Innocent went to market in 1999 having trademarked the logo (without the copyright as far as I remember) and stalled on issuing equity even until Deepend went to liquidation in 2001 where they then flatly refused to issue the equity owed to the liquidator and told anyone who asked for it (specifically our md) ‘where to go’.

    I worked at deepend during the period in question. Deepend archived all of it’s work so I have no doubt that the development files exist on hard drives and in peoples personal portfolios. It would make an interesting alternative ‘not so innocent’ story.

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